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A Guide to Spring HVAC Maintenance

If you have an HVAC system in your home, there are a few things you should hire a professional technician to inspect at the start of each new year. After all, your HVAC needs important maintenance before every season.

Here’s a checklist that you can use in the spring to keep your HVAC up and running throughout the year. Although, be sure to keep in mind that it’s not safe for homeowners to perform most of these tasks on their own.

Check the Thermostat

Obviously, your thermostat is the main way you control your HVAC system. You use it to adjust your home or office to the right temperature. Whether or not you’re heating or cooling your space, this thermostat should show you an accurate indoor temperature. To test this, you can purchase another thermometer to make sure there isn’t a big difference. You can also program your thermostat to turn on and off at a certain time. Just make sure that it’s working properly.

Check the System Controls

Make sure all the controls are working correctly. The system should turn on or off when using the thermostat. If it’s not operating well, try changing the batteries in your controller. If a setting or function isn’t responding at all, you need an HVAC professional to take a closer look at it because this requires professional skills to troubleshoot.

Check All the Electrical Connections

This will require a certified HVAC technician to take a thorough look at your system. They will check the electrical connection and make sure the wires are attached to their connection points. Of course, while doing this, it’s best if they turn off the electricity that feeds directly to your HVAC. So, be prepared by knowing where the shut-off switch is. This allows them to check the wires safely, without the threat of being shocked or electrocuted.

Lubricate Moving Parts

A certified HVAC tech will also lubricate moving parts. They may use a bottle of machine oil or a specially formulated lubricant spray like WD-40. The little applicator straw will help them get into cramped areas that need extra lubrication. An HVAC tech will focus on motors that have moving parts, such as the fan axils and heating blower. It’s best to leave this job to a pro.

Change the Filters

Every HVAC system has filters that need to be changed on a regular basis. These filters trap dust and pollen that can infiltrate your home. Unfortunately, they accumulate over time, so you need to have them replaced every now and then. It also puts some extra strain on your HVAC system, causing poor airflow as a result. Spring is the perfect time to take care of this because all the plants are about to bloom and spread their pollen.

Inspect the Condensation Drain

Inspecting the condensation drain is important before cleaning it. A trained HVAC tech will remove anything that’s collected in the drain. If your drain is clogged, it can cause overflowing water, which can ruin your HVAC and cause other kinds of damage. You should have this done before spring. Trapped water may become stagnant, which means you could find yourself dealing with mold and humidity issues in your home.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Since spring is right around the corner, you’ll likely be using the air conditioner again in the coming weeks. This means that you should make sure that it’s running as efficiently as it should. Here’s what a certified HVAC tech can do to prepare your AC for warmer weather.

Clean and Adjust the Blowers

Your HVAC system should produce excellent airflow, so having the blower inspected by a specialist is a must before the weather heats up. This includes cleaning off dust or any built-up sediment that covers the parts. A professional will use a vacuum brush to get into spots where you can’t easily reach on your own. They may also use something that looks like a paint brush to sweep out the dust inside the edges of the blowers. This is a soft tool that won’t damage anything.

Check the Fluid Levels

Don’t check fluid levels on your own. The potential to leak dangerous freon/ refrigerant into the air is high and harmful. An HVAC professional will check the levels and add more if it has dropped. Having too little fluid can affect your air conditioner’s efficiency, leading to increased energy costs.

Clean Off the Coils

You need to have the coils cleaned off, too. They connect to the condenser of your air conditioner. These coils play a huge part in cooling your home, and if they are covered with dust and dirt, they won’t function properly. Even though your HVAC has a cover, outdoor air can still pass through your home, carrying all sorts of contaminants with it. A certified HVAC technician will also remove things like spider webs and debris with a clean paint brush.

Other Helpful Tips to Follow:

Turn Off Water to the Furnace Humidifier

Since you aren’t going to be using the heater function anymore you need to have the furnace’s water supply turned off. If you have an HVAC that includes this type of add on, it needs to be shut off. There will be a simple exterior valve that can be closed to keep water from getting into the humidifier itself. An HVAC professional can look this over and make sure everything is in order.

Check the HVAC for the Remaining Level

It doesn’t hurt to have a pro give your HVA equipment a once-over to see how level it’s sitting. They will inspect the ground around it for any signs of leaning or soil settling. Earthquakes can often cause the soil in your yard to settle over time and unintentionally cause your HVAC to lean very slightly.

Pour a Drain Cleaner into the Condensation Drain

A technician may also determine that it’s a good idea to pour a drain cleaner inside the drain to kill mold or mildew that grew during the winter months. Sometimes this can help control any smell coming up from the drain, which can seep into the entire HVAC system in your home.

Need an HVAC Professional?

Leave these essential HVAC maintenance tasks to a pro. If you need a professional to handle your spring maintenance, you can always seek help by searching for “HVAC companies near me.” A lot of homes have their own HVAC systems, but only a few maintain proper upkeep. This is really important for a lot of reasons. You could be breathing cleaner air, saving money, and enjoying greater peace of mind.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re from Palo Alto and other nearby areas, choose Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air. We offer a wide variety of essential services, including 24-hour emergency HVAC service. For fast and reliable HVAC repair and maintenance, call us at 650-856-3405. We look forward to hearing from you.

3 Ways to Keep Your HVAC System From Getting Moldy

Mold is both microscopic and ubiquitous, making it an extremely hard germ to detect and avoid without being overly sensitive to it. Even worse, it can invade your HVAC equipment and render the air inside your home unhealthy.

Summer is Here! Make Sure Your HVAC System is Ready

Preventive HVAC Maintenance in Your Home

One of the general purposes of having a home is to give you and your family the shelter needed from extreme elements. The protection against wind, rain, and snow are what often comes to mind. However, the protection against excessive temperatures is also important.

A lot of modern households nowadays come equipped with some sort of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. A working HVAC system can be a blessing but can be a bane if it doesn’t work, especially when you need it the most.

This makes it very important to perform preventive maintenance of your HVAC systems. A lot of people simply overlook regular maintenance and make the mistake of running their unit until they break down, which can lead to costly repairs, or replacement.

Learning how to perform minor maintenance on your system will ensure you that equipment stays in good working condition. This not only reduces breakdowns but also prevents expensive repairs. It can be frustrating spending the hot summer days without air-conditioning or spending the bitter cold days of winter without heating equipments while you wait for service technicians to repair your HVAC system.

Professional HVAC maintenance in Palo Alto

There are some aspects of HVAC maintenance that must be handled by licensed technicians such as the refilling of refrigerant. This means that having a duly licensed technician to perform regular checkups on your HVAC system, especially during spring and fall, is much simpler and convenient.

When to call the pros

There are also some things that you need to look out for which can help you determine when you need to call a repair technician.

A good example to look out for would be the sound that your HVAC system makes. Your unit needs to run smoothly without any rattling noise. Another thing you may want to look out for is strange smells coming from your unit. Lastly, one of the surest ways of finding out if something is wrong with your unit is if it is not heating or cooling properly.

If you are able to observe these signs, then you need to contact a service repair person and have it scheduled. Most service repair persons will be able to identify and fix most problems.

The simplest way in ensuring that your HVAC unit runs smoothly is by regularly cleaning it. Make sure it is free from leaves, dust, dirt, and grime. If you want to have a more thorough cleaning, you can have it cleaned by a trained service person.

Choosing the Right System

Choosing the right HVAC system for your home depends on several factors. Consider how large your home is and how hot it typically gets during the summer months. You should also think about where the unit will be installed and, of course, how much money you can afford to spend.

If you still aren’t sure which type of new residential HVAC system in Palo Alto to purchase, it is important to talk to professionals like the technicians at Palo Alto Plumbing Heating & Air. Professionals will be able to help you choose the right system as well as schedule installation and even provide maintenance on a regular schedule.

The Dangers of DIY HVAC Hacks

 

HVAC system installs aren’t cheap – there’s no denying it. Your home comfort is an investment and we understand that when you can save a few bucks, you do what you can. The best ways to save on HVAC costs are to conserve energy where possible and perform routine maintenance on your system to prevent excess repairs. However, many homeowners are turning to the web to find ‘Hacks’ in preparation to DIY their HVAC and results are COSTLY.

We get it – you DIY your brick patio to avoid hiring a landscaper and maybe it isn’t as pretty. But it sure was cheaper. You looked up kitchen remodel hacks and found that re-staining your cabinets could change the whole look – so you did it yourself and LOVED the results. In the era of the internet, there’s nothing you can’t YouTube! This includes HVAC hacks.

However, trying to ‘hack’ your HVAC system or DIY an install or repair could cost you more money, more hassle, and worse yet, your safety. Unlike in the case of a kitchen cabinet re-up or a landscaping venture, HVAC work requires training and licensure because it is complex and risky. There are two major considerations for why HVAC hacks aren’t worth it

HVAC Hacks are not safe.

A big misconception about the HVAC profession is that it is low-risk. In fact, working with high voltage electricity, dangerous chemicals, and in touchy environs such as attics and crawl spaces – we see our fair share of injuries and take mega risks. Homeowners who take on our repairs or installations thinking there’s no risk are overlooking major hazards. Not only could you injure yourself in numerous ways while working on your system, but you will also put your entire family at risk of air quality contamination from a leak of refrigerant gas or furnace fuel.

HVAC Hacks are unreliable.

As you probably know, the internet is packed with erroneous information. Not everyone is trying to scam you with a flat-out lie, but many people produce content believing it is true, and being WAY off. In the HVAC industry, some technicians have produced helpful, accurate content but it is meant to be shared between trained professionals – not to assist homeowners who don’t have the background knowledge to perform tasks safely. Similarly, content not endorsed by a professional at all is 100% unsafe and runs the risk of being entirely wrong. Don’t take that chance.

HVAC Hacks are not cheaper.

First, you will need to purchase a handful of tools you do not already own – HVAC is a specialty that requires specialized gauges and tools. Without these tools, you simply won’t be able to perform your install or repair to code and if you purchase them, you’ll spend a pretty penny (possibly more than you would to have it professional repaired!). Further, if you make a mistake in your install or repair – which is almost inevitable, since you are not trained – you may end up paying more to repair an even bigger issue or replace your system once damage is irreparable.

With the holidays on the horizon, the desire to save a few bucks is completely understandable. However, the financial implications of DIY HVAC hacks are a bit misunderstood and nothing is more valuable than the safety and comfort of your family this holiday season. For tips on HVAC maintenance you CAN perform yourself, check out more of our heating & cooling maintenance articles here.

 

 

10 Benefits of Living in Your Ideal Home Temperature

 

We all love a comfortable, secure, stylish home with just the right amount of heat or cold, be it a modest house or a lavish mansion. What constitutes comfort, security, and style varies from person to person and so does the perfect temperature. Below, we will discuss what the ideal room temperature is and the benefits of cooler and hotter home temperatures.

What is The Ideal Room Temperature?

Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to this question. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 18C/64F for healthy individuals, 16C/60.5F for those with respiratory problems, and a minimum of 20C/68F for the very young, sick or aged.

When looking for your perfect thermostat setting, it might be a good idea to consider the following benefits of warm versus cold houses, noting of course, that this does not include extreme temperatures.

5 Benefits of a Warm House

Here are some of the benefits of making your home environment warmer:

1. Makes You Physically Active

A warm house makes you want to be up and about. You are more likely to think about dusting the book shelf and finishing the DIY project you started last summer, rather than cuddling on the couch.

2. Good for Your Memory
The reasoning is simple, with increased blood flow to your head and vital organs, you will be more alert and able to more easily remember things.

3. Reduced Respiratory and Allergic Conditions
Respiratory and allergic conditions are notoriously stubborn, and the last thing you need is a cold house to send you looking for your anti-allergy pills.

4. Heart and Lungs
Due to the need to keep your body at an optimum temperature, your heart and lungs have to work harder in cold surroundings to ensure this goal is achieved. Too much of this for too long could result in higher blood pressure and associated conditions.

5. Makes it Easier for Some to Sleep
It’s last on the list because it may boil down to your preferred bedroom thermostat settings and your sleeping habits. Some love to be under a duvet, while others love sleeping with their t-shirts only.

5 Benefits of a Cold Home

And if you love it when your house has a cold, slightly chilly ambience, you are not alone. Here are the benefits of living in a cooler environment:

1. Burns Calories

This is the realm of cutting-edge science, but it turns out that cold conditions tend to cause certain types of bodily fat to be combusted to keep us warm. Weight-watchers will love it.

2. Disease-Carrying Bugs Hate Cold Conditions
Disease causing insects such as mosquitoes and cockroaches find it inhospitable to be in cold surroundings. This helps keep your family safe and healthy.

3. Reduces Inflammation and Boosts Muscle Recovery
Ever wondered why ice is applied on swollen surfaces? Or why athletes immerse themselves in icy-water? Cold conditions tend to reduce inflammation of muscles and promote muscular recovery.

4. Promotes Better and Longer Sleep

When you lay down to go to sleep, the temperature of your body naturally cools off. Cold temperatures can help you cool down faster, leading to higher quality and long-lasting sleep.

5. Closer Together
One happy family. When it’s colder, we tend to huddle closer like all members of the animal kingdom, the only difference is we would probably be around the kitchen table or in the TV room.

Whether you like it warmer or cooler, it is important that you keep your HVAC system well-maintained so that it can keep you comfortable year-round. If you need help achieving ultimate home comfort, give us a call today.